South Gloucestershire’s Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to double the Warm Home Discount for existing recipients and make it available to 670 extra pensioners across the Authority. The measure would prevent pensioners being forced to “choose between eating and heating this winter”, say the Lib Dems.
The call comes amid fears that local residents, particularly 3900 pensioners on low incomes, could be at risk from the energy crisis this winter.
The Warm Home Discount, funded by energy firms, is due to give people £140 off their electricity bill this winter. It is available to those who receive the ‘Guarantee Credit’ element of pension credit as well as some people on low incomes, with around two million receiving it each year across the UK.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to take on the cost of the Warm Home Discount and immediately double its value to £280, helping pensioners cope with soaring bills this winter.
Currently £458,000 is spent on the Warm Home Discount in South Gloucestershire. Under Liberal Democrat plans this funding would rise to £1.1 million.
Commenting on the new scheme, Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition Group on South Glos Council said:
“The Conservatives are pushing the most vulnerable pensioners and families into a cost of living crisis. We are seeing a double whammy of rising bills and the slashing of vital support.
“Residents in South Gloucestershire should not have to choose between heating and eating this winter. We simply cannot allow those who are already struggling to bear the brunt of this government’s terrible mistakes.
“Liberal Democrats are calling for a £1.1 million investment to help people cope with soaring bills this winter.”
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP added:
“If Boris Johnson has any interest in offering the most vulnerable in society a fair deal, he will listen to this Liberal Democrat proposal to double and extend the Warm Home Discount to the people who really need help.”
There are 3278 pensioners who currently receive the Warm Home Discount
There are 674 pensioners who currently do not receive the Warm Home Discount but would under the Lib Dems plans
The doubling and expansion of the discount would benefit 3265 in South Gloucestershire and would cost a total of £1,106,560
1.25 million pensions currently qualify for the WHD (£140) - they receive the "Guarantee Credit" element of pension credit. To double the Warm Home Discount for them, it would cost £175m (1.25m x £140)
An additional 220,000 people get pension credit, but not "Guarantee credit". So to expand it to them would cost £61.6 million (220,000 x 280)
Total: £236.6 million
Image credit: Matt Preston